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Billionaire Advice that Made a Farm Boy a Fortune in Self-Storage

The BiggerPockets Podcast
48 min read
Billionaire Advice that Made a Farm Boy a Fortune in Self-Storage

How much billionaire advice have you gotten? Ever decided to look up the wealthiest people in your area and give them a call? What type of tips could they give you for success? What business ideas would they push you to try? And how would your life change? Instead of speculating, at a young age, Andrew J. Abernathey tried out this strategy, and much to his surprise, he got the billionaire mentor he always dreamed of.

Before that, Andrew was just a simple farm boy. You know how it goes: tending to the field, ordering supplies, and trading futures at ten years old. Yep, you read that right. Andrew was making trading calls on grain prices at only ten years old, a skill that his father helped teach him. At fourteen, Andrew decided to put some money in the stock market, and a year later, walked away with an $80,000 profit. And like all young boys, he knew exactly what he wanted to spend his money on—a million-dollar apartment complex!

Picking up on a pattern? Andrew has been making incredible moves at almost unbelievably young ages. But we haven’t even touched on the most incredible part of his journey yet. In this episode, you’ll hear how Andrew made wild real estate profits at sixteen, met his billionaire mentor by offering him some pie, and went on to build hundreds of millions in self-storage. It’s all true, and it’s all coming up in this episode!

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Read the Transcript Here

David:
This is the BiggerPockets Podcast show 695.

Andrew:
But between 10 and 14, I was really getting into books and really obsessed with Warren Buffett. And when the market crashed, it was all over the news. And that’s when I was like 14, like what’s the stock market? I mean, I was already doing grain and I was doing other things. And so I went and just threw $4,000 into Ford at 99 cents. Bank of America at $3, just bought a bunch of random stuff. And that’s $4,000 between 14 years old and about 15, 16. So like a year and a half went to $80,000.

David:
What’s going on everyone? This is David Greene, your host of the BiggerPockets Real Estate Podcast, the biggest, the best, and the baddest real estate podcast in the world. Here today with an amazing show that is sure to blow your mind with my co-host, Henry Washington. In today’s show, Henry and I interview future billionaire, Andrew Abernathey out of North Dakota of all places who is building a business and real estate empire based on sound principles and smart business choices. And we share all of it with you today. Henry, what are you thinking after just talking to Andrew?

Henry:
Oh, no, I think this was a phenomenal conversation. Man, it reinforced a lot about… Well, for me especially, I got into this business to improve the lives of my family and he was a beneficiary of some fantastic financial knowledge imparted on him by his parents at a very young age. And it was imparted on him in a way that it actually stuck and he started to implement it at a young age. And the lessons that he learned then have just created this stair step that he’s used to build this real estate empire that he has now. And it started with this foundation when he was probably younger than most people would think you would want to start educating some people on advanced financial topics. And so it just reinforced to me that I should probably spend more time talking to my kids about the intricacies of what I’m doing and not just showing them through my actions.

David:
Yeah, that’s a great point. I mean, we’re going to get into that more in the interview, but I like what you said about his stair step because Andrew just got started early with a great foundation and never stopped climbing. He just keeps going. Every time he hits a new level, he says, “Okay. What would be the next step?” It’s always very practical and even simple in some ways, and anybody can follow that path. Now, not everybody’s going to go into want to climb to the levels that Andrew’s at, but everyone can be climbing higher than where they are right now. Today’s quick tip is very simple. Consider bringing your kids into your world in ways that you might think they’re not ready for. Andrew tells a story about being 10 years old and being introduced into stocks and 14 years old buying his first property. And that sounds crazy to hear right now, but when you consider the mentorship that he had from the people that were in his life and his father, it actually doesn’t sound that crazy. And he makes a really good point too.
He always looks for people’s passion and he only hires people that are passionate about what their job is to do. If you’ve got kids that are passionate about business, that like looking at spreadsheets or they like looking at CRMs or they like being involved when you’re meeting new people and networking, bring them along with you. Kids don’t like it when you make them do something that they don’t enjoy, but if they enjoy it, they probably want to be a bigger part of your life. And for some of them that could be real estate.
And before we get to Andrew, if you’ve got a quick second, please go give us a five star review wherever you listen to podcast. We want to stay the biggest, the best and the baddest podcast in the world. We can’t do it without your help. You, us, we are in a relationship together and we need your support just like you need ours and bringing you this information. So if you could just go to wherever you listen to the podcast, Apple Podcast, Spotify, Stitcher, whatever it is, and leave us a five star review. We really appreciate it. All right. Let’s get to Andrew. Andrew Abernathy, welcome to the BiggerPockets Podcast. How are you today?

Andrew:
I’m good. I appreciate letting me on. I’m excited.

David:
Yeah. Well, thank you for joining us. We’re excited too, because you have an incredible story. I don’t want to beat around the bush. Okay. Take me back to the first time that you decided that you were going to make money through investing. Okay. Where were you, what were you thinking about, and how old were you?

Andrew:
Oh, good question. Yeah, I was the ripe old age of 10 years old, family farm in North Dakota. And my dad noticed I enjoyed numbers. I was a little bit of a nerd and he started having me doing the marketing on the family farm, selling grain futures, puts calls, all the goods.

David:
Okay. So you knew what puts and calls were at 10 years old? We need to unpack this.

Andrew:
I learned it at that point.

Henry:
Did you just say you were 10 years old and you talked to your dad and then started trading puts and calls? When the kids in my neighborhood are thinking about making money, there’s a stand outside and they’re selling some random lemonade juice from inside the house. But you started trading stocks, puts and calls? I need a little more information there.

Andrew:
Little more detail. Yes. So I love numbers. When I was before 10, like six, seven, I would take stuff from one sibling’s room and sell it to another, right? So just always obsessed with it. Dad’s like, “Hey, I’ll give you $5 an hour if you want to do the marketing.” And I thought I was doing it all on my own and making the calls to the brokers. Found out later on, my dad was calling the broker after like making sure they were good trades and stuff. But just the learning experience was phenomenal.

David:
Why don’t you unpack what a put and a call is for everyone listening who doesn’t know what the heck we’re talking about here?

Andrew:
Yeah. I mean, basically it’s buying on paper, right? So you either write it or you don’t. So if you’re buying a put, you expect the markets to go down. If you buy a call, you expect it to go up, you pay a premium to have the option. If the market does the opposite of what you thought, you’re out to your premium. That’s it. And if it does the opposite of what you thought past your premium cost, you make profits. So some guys actually write the paper, there’s a lot more risk on that end. We were just trying, so we had a few hundred thousand bushels of commodities on the farm at all time. And then we would buy some on paper and sell it on paper too. So we were dealing with both concrete grain and also paper grain.

David:
So you were basically speculating what the market’s going to do?

Andrew:
Pretty much. Yeah. And the nice thing is what we always did is the opposite, so it’s almost like an insurance policy, right? So I said, “I’m going to buy a put on this so if it goes down, that must mean that there’s a lot of crop in out there, which means that we have it.” And if it’s a drought, it means the crop’s going to go up, which means we’re not going to have it. So we’ll make money on the paper. So it’s basically an insurance policy on what we were growing in the fields because usually it’s the opposite of what we would produce.

Henry:
So you were hedging?

David:
And you were being taught how to hedge at a very young age by your dad, is that right? Was he your first mentor?

Andrew:
Correct. For sure, 100%.

David:
All right. Now this is cool because the family business is a farm, right? It’s funny that you mentioned Warren Buffett because you’re in North Dakota and he’s in Omaha, Nebraska. And this is probably not cool to admit, but in my head that’s like the same thing because I’m in California and we don’t know-

Andrew:
It’s Midwest,

David:
… how the Midwest works. That’s exactly right. Omaha and Fargo. I might have thought that’s just a different name for the same city. I’m Joking. I’m not that-

Andrew:
I’ve heard that before. That’s all good.

David:
There’s something about very, very powerful minds that come out of these places. So that’s what we’re trying to dive into today. So here’s what I’m curious about. I’m imagining that your dad has a strong emotional connection or relationship with the family business that’s a farm. So he’s constantly thinking like any good owner or investor would be, “How do I protect myself from the downside while maximizing the upside?” And that’s where you’re being taught these concepts like puts and calls and insurance policies and hedging and all this stuff at 10 years old.
Tell us what those of us who did not grow up on a farm don’t know about farms. Like the business side of this, because when we picture farming, it’s like, oh, you get up in the morning and you milk a cow and you got a John Deere tractor somewhere in the front yard that you sit on your grandpa’s lap and he’s got his coffee and you’re listening to George Strait as you’re plowing a field or something. I have a feeling that there’s a whole lot more entrepreneurialship and numbers that go into it. Can you share with us that are ignorant of how farming works a little more what that lifestyle is?

Andrew:
First off, I love George Strait. You got that part right. But yeah, so my dad always said back in when we started back in the early 1900, it was whoever could just work the hardest, right? That was farming. It was just 99% hard work. And then in the ’50s and the ’60s then it was like, “All right. You really got to be really good at business, but also 70% work still hard.” And nowadays, and I’m not saying farmers don’t work hard. They do, but what I’m trying to say is 90% of the money now is made in the office, right? It’s a globalized economy. It’s become more globalized as technology has come around.
So yeah, I mean, you’re in the field, you have to be a mechanic, you have to know how to market, you have to know how to pick which crops you’re going to put in. You have to know how to negotiate with vendors on input costs. I mean, you basically have to wear 17 hats. It’s one of the most unique things ever. And it’s really cyclical. I mean, it’s one of those businesses where you’re really reliant on weather and cyclicality. So you’re literally putting all your money out, going to hedge as best you can and hope the weather doesn’t mess it up. So when we were young, news was always on the weather and my dad was pretty good, but his mood was dependent.

David:
It’s so crazy. You’ve got all this money invested into this asset that you have no control over, the main thing which is weather, which is probably the most volatile thing in nature, right?

Andrew:
Yeah.

David:
You think about the market can shift with real estate investing or the economy can shift, nothing changes as unpredictably or wildly as the weather and that’s the baseline that you’ve built this entire thing on. What does that do to someone mentally to have to live with that level of uncertainty when they have this much money invested into an enterprise?

Andrew:
Well, though are some of the first… And that leads me some of the first books that I was reading in 10 to 13 was human nature because I think every dollar behind it has a person, everything’s human related. So that all leads to that point is I learned how to manage emotions and I learned the different mental states you have to be in, right? I mean, you can’t control the weather. If you’re stressed about something, focus on things that you can control and your stress lowers. And I had to learn that at a young age with weather and prices of crops and all of that. I mean, you can’t control it. It is what it is.

Henry:
So I imagine that’s where the hedging really came in for your father in teaching you, because if you’re reliant on something as unpredictable as weather, then you darn sure better be playing both sides in the event that the weather doesn’t do what you need it to do, that you’re not just out all of your money, that you hedged against it and then hopefully maybe you break even?

Andrew:
Yeah, you try to have as much upside as possible with protecting your downside. And also vertical integration was something I was introduced to early. My dad started selling fertilizer, drive fertilizer and hydris. Anything that he could do, he started selling seed. Anything to cut our costs down on our input costs, anything that we could do in-house.

David:
Because that’s how one of the ways that you protected your downside, right?

Andrew:
Correct.

David:
Now, I don’t want to gloss over this. This is actually wildly intelligent. This is what business is, for people that are in their business, they understand it is all about maximizing upside while protecting downside. In fact, it makes me think a lot about poker. One of the things you learn… And I’m not a super good poker player, I play once every four years, but I play enough to understand how the game works. It’s not about winning more hands, it’s about when you win, how big was the pot that you won. Okay. You could lose 20 hands in a row and win one big one and you’re now in the best position on the table. That’s what business is. And I think a lot of analysis paralysis comes because people are looking to eliminate risk. And if they see risk, they’re like, “Oh, I don’t want to do it.”
Whereas the successful athletes, entrepreneurs, business people, they know you don’t eliminate risk. Their confidence comes from their ability to reduce it while maximizing the upside, because if I can hit a home run on a couple deals, I’m not afraid of taking an L on a couple other ones. And it separates you from the power of the fear where you’re like, “Oh, God, if I lose everything and I can’t lose.” I see you smiling. It sounds like this is something you got introduced to at a young age. Can you tell me, am I on the right path here with how your brain works?

Andrew:
100%. And it’s Warren Buffett would say the best thing about investing is it’s a sport where you have more than three strikes. In baseball, if you strike out three times, you’re out. Well in investing, you can watch 1,000 deals fly by before you take a swing. So you always try to take calculated risks, stay in your circle of competence, the basic stuff. I’m more of a baby boomer than a millennial, I tell you that much. But no, you’re absolutely correct.

David:
Yeah, that’s just something I want everyone to notice because you had a huge advantage getting taught these lessons at 10 years old when your brain is forming. And I can only imagine how comfortable you got with this concept of risk and how to manage it versus you at your whole life, and no one really gets introduced to risk on purpose when they’re young. You go sit in class and you get good grades by just memorizing what you’re told and waiting for a bell to tell you where to go, right?
You just follow rules and to succeed. And then you get out of school and you get into this what we call the real world, and no one cares. And following rules doesn’t get you wealthy. It can actually keep you trapped. And so you have to learn how to do the stuff that you’re thinking and I think it’s amazing that you learn this. And I hope more parents are teaching their kids how to do this at a higher level than just the lemonade stand that we typically expose kids to. Now, you also learned a little bit about managing money, right? So my understanding is you were making $5 an hour when you were young. Tell me what this work agreement was that you had and what you did with that money.

Andrew:
Yeah. So 10 years old, I mean, I was not only marketing grain, but I was running grain cart combine in the field and I was getting $5 an hour. And during harvest and springs work, I’d be taken out at lunch, my brother and I from school. And so we were getting 12, 13, 14, 15 hour days in during the busy times of the year. And then I was cleaning equipment at the local John Deere dealership for seven, 25 an hour. I was flying out to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, working at a Chinese restaurant in a bed and breakfast for cash onto the table. I mean, anything that I could do to get cash. And anyways, by 14 I saved up $6,000. I actually only had $4,000 left because I bought a go-kart for $2,000, a red go-kart. I mean, can’t really blame me, I was 14. But-

David:
Of course.

Andrew:
… the $4,000 I had left is actually when I entered the investment market. I wanted to have my money work for me and that’s when it all began.

David:
I’m falling in love with North Dakota right now. You guys have John Deere dealerships.

Henry:
John Deere-

Andrew:
It was the worst job. I mean, a great dealership, but cleaning combine sucks. I mean, oh, my God.

David:
I think of a dealership like a Porsche dealership or equipment.

Andrew:
Yeah, mostly equipment. They were possible the same as a Porsche. But yeah.

David:
So they have the showroom tractor, like the big-

Andrew:
Oh, yeah.

David:
… shiny cool one that has all of the cool attachments that you could buy with. That’s like what they’re upselling you, right?

Andrew:
My job with waxing that thing, making it pretty.

David:
If this was a transformer, it would turn into this. That’s really funny.

Andrew:
Only $500,000.

David:
Yes, you got to take a huge loan out to get the John Deere $4,000 that can… It’s got this rating of it can do this many square feet of hoeing in a certain period of time. This is hilarious to me being in California and not exposed to that. So you got exposed to hard work managing money, learning a lot of cool business principles at a very young age. At what point did you transition into actual real estate investing as opposed to go-kart investing?

Andrew:
I love it. So actually, so the market crashed when I was 14. It was about March 2009 is my 14th birthday. And fortunately that was only a few days after the bottom of the market. Again, lucky didn’t know, but between 10 and 14 I was really getting into books and really obsessed with Warren Buffett. And when the market crashed, it was all over the news and that’s when I was like 14, “What’s the stock market?” I mean, I was already doing grain and I was doing other things. And so I went and just threw $4,000 into Ford at 99 cents, Bank of America at $3, just bought a bunch of random stuff. And that $4,000 between 14 years old and about 15, 16. So a year and a half went to $80,000.

Henry:
Geez.

Andrew:
And that’s when I took it out and got into real estate.

David:
Henry, you had a strong reaction to that. Tell me what you’re thinking.

Henry:
Yeah. Yeah. So I think what’s going to happen is a lot of people are going to hear this story and first they’re going to make some assumptions, right? They’re going to make some assumptions that you were some rich well-off kid whose dad just gave you a bunch of money to play with. That’s not the case, right? Your parents taught you about financial education and then you went and worked your butt off to save money and then you were smart enough to… Yeah, have some fun, but then put those principles to work by investing. But then you also had the good fortune of entering the market at a good time. And some people will see that as luck. And sure there’s some element of luck to the timing, but had you not done all those things before, had you not positioned yourself to be able to jump into the market at the time you did, you wouldn’t have done it, right?
And so it’s not just all luck that you jumped into the stock market at that time. It was the culmination of all the lessons you had learned previously, all the information that your father had passed onto you and then you actually applying it and implementing it and you still had to have some discipline to go ahead and be able to take the money you worked hard for. And as a 14 year old, think I can’t spend all of it. Right? That’s super powerful And I want people to understand that when they hear this story because you get a lot of naysayers, it’s like “Ah, well his parents did it for”, that is not the case at what’s happening here. And you didn’t get lucky by entering the market at that time. You had put in the work, you had put in the effort, you had put in the discipline to be able to be ready to invest when you did. And it just so happened to be a really good time. So I think that’s super cool and I want to make sure people really understand that.

Andrew:
I appreciate that. Yeah, success is when preparation and opportunity meet. I spent four years preparing and looking for opportunities in 2009 and opportunity came up and I jumped on it.

David:
There’s something else I’d like to dive into with this with you being 10 years old, 10 years old, 14 years old.

Andrew:
Yeah.

David:
Either you’re some kind of savant Doogie Howser esque. Do you know who Doogie Howser is actually?

Andrew:
Yeah, that’s actually my nickname from my friends.

David:
You look a little like him.

Andrew:
Yeah, they call me Doogie.

David:
Neil Patrick Harris, right? That’s the actor’s name from How I Met Your Mother. He was in this really old TV show where he was a doctor at 14 years old or something like that. And the movie or the show would portray the challenges he faced as a young kid. And I remember at the end of every show, he’d be like typing on his computer because computers weren’t very common when I was really little talking about what he learned in journaling. But he was this pheno, either you’re that or teenagers and preteens are capable of more than what we think. That’s what I started thinking about, right? We typically take kids, send them to school, say whatever your teacher teaches you, whatever curriculum they have is all that you have to do. I’m not responsible for educating or training my kid, I just go to work and do my own thing.
I put them through the system and I hope that they turn out well. But I just think some kids can understand deeper concepts than what we think. If you’re at 10 years old able to understand puts and calls and you’re watching your dad playing on the computer and he’s talking you through the logic of how he’s looking at this or you’re learning how to take apart complex machinery and clean it and put it back together when your brain’s being formed, it’s learning mechanical aptitude and how several pieces fit together, which is actually a very important thing if you understand how the economy works. And we’ve already talked about mitigating risk and increasing reward. It sort of sets this example that young children and teenagers are actually capable of dealing with some adult level stuff if you introduce it to them in the right way. I see you smiling at this comment. Is this something you also believe? Is this something you plan on training your kids in when you get them?

Andrew:
Yeah, 100%. And I just want to add, I’m a big believer in passion. I hire based on passion and I think kids should be directed on passion. What I mean by that is… There’s six kids in my family and I remember as a kid we’d sit around the dinner table and my dad would throw out topics, random topics, farming topics, money topics, whatever it may be. And whoever’s head turned the kid wise, and you could see their eyes would change, spark and their voice would change, you could tell they were intrigued. And then he would spend one on one time with them on that topic because his belief was I want to help my kids find their passion at an early age and do what I can to help them down that road.
Because if you do something that you’re passionate about, the odds of you succeeding are much higher. So for example, one of my sister is a doctor, one works at the church, one’s a teacher, my brother farms, I’m in finance. My point is we all followed our passion and we’re all wildly successful at all of our fields. And it’s not about the money, right? I mean, luckily what I do is makes money, but my sister, she’s an amazing teacher and finances are different. So we were taught to follow passion, not money. And I think that kids have so much ability if the parents can do that.

David:
So we had started to get into how you started investing in real estate. The market had crashed. You said you were 14 years old and you got your first property, is that right?

Andrew:
Yeah. So yeah, I turned the $4,000 $80,000 and I realized I wanted to be in real estate. This is funny story. So I go and I grab the $80,000. So my brother and I were renting my grandma… Grandpa’s and my dad’s equipment in custom combining in South Dakota trying to make some extra money. I mean, there’s a lot of little things that I was doing during this time. And anyways, when we were driving back through Bismark, the state capital North Dakota, three hours south of where we lived, I was 15, 16, I saw this apartment for sale. It was a 16 plex, two buildings, $1.2 million. Nice old couple. I called him up like, “Hey, like to buy your building.” “Great.” So I sell my stocks, I put $20,000 earnest down nonrefundable. And I go back to Mohall, my small town of 800.
And I go to my buddy’s dad, he’s a banker and I’m like, “Hey, I need a $1.2 million loan, here’s $80,000 down payment.” And I’m like 15, 16. He’s like, “Andrew, that’s awesome, but you need another $300,000 and a balance sheet.” And that’s when I was like, “Well crap, now I got to raise money. How do I do that?” So I went and printed off Warren Buffett’s original 1956 partnership agreement and whited the names out, because I couldn’t afford a lawyer. And I went to Crosby, a local town and I convinced someone to invest $300,000 in the project with me.

Henry:
Okay.

Andrew:
So I’m going to stop there.

Henry:
So first of all, here’s my first takeaway. You turned $4,000 into $80,000 and your first thought is not let’s run it back in the stock market, but let me pull it out and go invest in some real estate that I have never done a transaction in before. And so what spurred that thought versus just continuing to invest in the thing that you had success in?

Andrew:
Yeah. So I went and I thought real estate was going to be a good play. So anyways, I mean, stocks are great. There’s a control issue, there’s the leverage issue. And Charlie Munger when you read that he actually got in with Warren later on, but they were friends and they say the quickest way to make money is in real estate, but at some point there is a diminishing returns. Once you get billions and billions and billions, there’s diminishing returns due to scalability.
So I knew that the quickest way to get a jumpstart was real estate. So that’s why I wanted to get into real estate. And then I’m also a history buff. And in 1980 the oil boom hit for the first time in North Dakota and real estate markets were flying up in the ’80s. Williston went first, mine at second, Bismarck third. Well, in 2000… Well this is probably 2010, when I did these apartments, Williston was inflated because the Bakken hit. And Minot was 90% inflated and Bismarck was sitting there like nothing’s going on. So I’m like, “I got to buy some real estate in Bismarck. I mean, if history repeats itself, that’s the place to be.

Henry:
Man, that’s super cool, because it sounds like you did a ton of research, right? Then trusted that research and then acted on it. So you take this $80,000 and you see and you’re like, “Oh, there’s an apartment building in this town where I feel like they’re going to have an appreciation pretty soon.” And then you go and you put $20,000 down nonrefundable before you have the rest of the money, which-

Andrew:
That’s risky.

Henry:
Which forced you because you put yourself in a position where you had to go find it, you had to go raise the money. And so there wasn’t this thought of “I can’t do this”, there was a thought of, “I absolutely have to do this”, right? Which is I’m sure what made that transition necessary is I think the word I want to use there. And so then you thought, “Okay. I’ll go ask people with money.” And I think you used the word, “I convinced a guy”.

Andrew:
It’s convinced is the right word.

Henry:
To loan on this project. So go into the details there, what does convinced mean? What were you, 15, 16?

Andrew:
Yes, 16 I think now.

Henry:
How did this 16 year old convinced this wealthy… What was he? A farmer to invest in your real estate deal that you just drove by and saw on the side of the road?

Andrew:
I made it a no-brainer. I mean, I literally went to him and said, “Hey, I’m going to throw an $80,000, you throw in $300. I’ll work for free. And the first $80,000 we lose if we do can be mine.” So I’m first out of the money if something happens. So the guy sitting there, like, “Well geez.” I mean, how do you turn that down, right? I mean, it’s hard real estate. He’s going to do all his work for free. $80,000 is first money out. Pretty good cushion.

Henry:
Yeah. Yeah, that is a pretty good cushion. That’s a creative way to think about the solution. I talk to people all the time about borrowing money. So I’ll talk to different private money lenders about borrowing money and it’s similar to me. I’m trying to make this a no-brainer for you. How can I creatively structure this to make it seem like, “Hey, if anybody’s going to lose here, it’s not going to be you, it’s going to be me because I’m going to make you whole.” Right? And you can get creative when you’re using private money to be able to do that. I think that’s super cool.

Andrew:
Exactly.

David:
And how old were you? Remind me when you’re putting this deal together.

Andrew:
I was about 16.

David:
Okay. 16 years old. Now, did you have your dad or anybody else advising you like, “Hey, here’s how you should structure this or here’s how you should present it”?

Andrew:
No, because I mean all the family did was farmland. So when I went and did this apartment thing, it was actually a foreign concept really. I mean, I was really just going off reading and I watched some Harvard classes on YouTube and learned some stuff. But yeah, no. So anyways, we got the apartments, 16. I felt like the history was going to repeat itself. And again, I hate to use the word locking call what you want. It happened, I mean, the Bakken formation hit in a city. So I bought these apartments. There was six apartments right next to this middle school in Bismarck. We owned the two right in the middle. And I got a call from the city saying, “Hey, we need to buy your apartments. We’re doing an addition because of all the kids coming in from this oil boom.”
And they said, “We’ll give you $1.5 million.” And I said, “No, no, I’m good.” And this was like six, seven months after we bought them for one too. And then anyways they bought the other ones, they tore them down. We were the last man standing. Finally, I accepted an offer. I think it was about $2 million. So 15 to 16 months we owned them. I was a junior going into my senior year in high school. After paying the loan off, we had $1 million from that original $380,000 roughly a little over.

David:
Yeah. Speechless here. I mean, I’m just trying to think of what I could even compare this to you, like how you hit this many grand slams your first time.

Andrew:
I know, it was weird. I have some losses later, so don’t worry about that.

David:
Okay. I was about to ask, have you lost yet?

Andrew:
Yes.

David:
Because without any losses, you might just be floating in space with any form of… I don’t know what the word I’m looking for here. There’s no framework to put this in. So I’m glad to hear that you’ve lost in some way. Not that [inaudible 00:28:52]

Andrew:
I got my tissue kicked in 2017, so we’re good there.

David:
Okay. And that brings some balance to the force and gives you… Probably makes you succeed even more.

Andrew:
But the nice thing is when I went back to this guy that gave me the $300,000 he’s like, “Andrew, that was impressive. How about this-”

Henry:
Do it again.

Andrew:
Yeah. He said, “There’s $1 million here, give me $500,000. You keep $500,000.” Even though I was supposed to only get like $200,000 or whatever that number was, $250,000. So he gave me $500,000 of the million and then he is like, “And keep my $500,000 and I want you to invest it and charge me this time.” So that’s how that was left off.

David:
What kind of people are in North Dakota that they’re willingly giving up their profit? You’re going to have a rush of people, like I want to raise money out there. Now I’m guessing this person probably knew you knew your family, right?

Andrew:
Yeah. I mean, farming communities, again, I found an opportunity and I bounced on. I mean, farmers are very niche. You are a farmer, you’re not, they’re very… Some guy coming in from New York could never raise money. It’s just they’re very a niche thing I guess.

David:
So I know at one point you had some success, but you said that you weren’t really being fulfilled. What was that like to win this big, that young?

Andrew:
Yeah. That is tough, right? Because it’s like a drug. I mean, you get these hits and then… Because I’m a big believer in slow and steady wins the race, but you get these grand slams and you get these highs and then all of a sudden normal life doesn’t feel that exciting, and I mean that in the best way. Not like I was depressed or anything, but you know what I mean. Gosh, you get those highs before you’re 18. Like gosh, that’s a high benchmark.

David:
Yeah. So what were you going through? What were you feeling when you actually had that happen?

Andrew:
I mean, the toughest thing too was not being really normal. My siblings were all really good in school and popular and good at sports, and I really wasn’t any of that. And so I think just being different was tough. But again, looking back now I’m blessed. I’m so glad. But in the moment, it is tough to not really know who you are.

David:
So what did you do when you decided you were going to niche down? How did that decision come to fruition?

Andrew:
Well, when I went to Fargo and I decided I didn’t want to farm, so my brother and I are partners in the farm, but I’m not an active involvement, and that was my big decision to tell my dad. And that’s tough in the farming community to go tell your dad that you don’t want to farm and you’re one of the two sons, but he was very understanding. And that’s when I figured out that I need to raise so much money to follow my dream, right? Because that’s my answer is just follow my dream, be me and don’t pretend I have to farm. Because up until 2013 I felt like I just had to farm. This was going to be a side hobby when really my hobby is what I love the most. So that’s really how I just jumped into it two feet.

David:
So did you end up going to college?

Andrew:
I did for about two semesters and then I dropped out. So my dad called me. So when I was a year into college, I already had a $15 million raised because I kept raising money. And my dad called me and said, “Andrew, you either need to give the money back and go to college and I don’t blame you because I went to college and I had fun. Or you need to get out of college and manage this money because these people that invested in you deserve your full attention.” He said, “Make a decision. I don’t judge you either way.” Well, I decided to drop out and here I am.

Henry:
You didn’t figure you’d make a $500,000 net from getting your first job out of college?

Andrew:
Correct. Yeah, I figured pass that.

David:
So what was your real estate investing like during those times?

Andrew:
Well, that was actually my confusing years a little bit. So I went and raised a blank check fund where I basically could invest and do anything I wanted. So I raised about $15 million and I went and bought an equipment dealership in Great Falls, Montana, Warren Buffett play. I bought insurance company out of Alabama that was on the Nasdaq and actually I became the largest shareholder through stock purchases and I had to change the laws in Alabama to become a board member when I was only 23 at the time. And then I bought some HUD building commercial… That was the point, right? Those are my last years. Everything I was doing was working, except for the helicopter company. I lost my butt on, lost 15% of our portfolio, but we don’t need to talk about that right now. But anyways, everything was working. But that’s when I called Gary, I did my cold call and that changed my life.

Henry:
So what do you mean? So everything was working, you were seeing the success you were hoping for, you had raised the money and then you thought, “I need to call somebody and get some help.”?

Andrew:
Yeah, I wanted to call Gary because when I look at billionaires, I read something once that billionaires are created on focus and its wealth is preserved on diversification. So I looked at people in even Fargo, Ronnie Offutt, John Deere dealerships, Harold-Newman-Signs, they all became very successful on one thing. They were the best at it. So I cold called Gary Tharaldson, he’s a North Dakota billionaire. I actually called the top 10 wealthiest people in the state. He was the only one that really called me back and gave me any time, which I’ll take the richest one I guess.
And I called his secretary, said he is not in, I just called his office because he didn’t know me from Adam. I mean, I grew up six hours away from here in a small farm. He didn’t know who I was. And she’s like, “Yeah, yeah, he’ll give you a callback.” And I’m like, “Okay. Sure. Yeah, okay. Sounds good.” So I leave my number and my name and a month later I get a call from this Vegas number and I pick it up. I thought it was the telemarketer. I was about to be like, “Don’t ever call me again.” But before I could say that, this old raspy voice comes in, it’s like, “Hey, this is Gary Tharaldson giving you a call.” And I’m like, “Oh, Gary.” Right? That hit, I’m just speechless. And then that’s when we talked for like 45 minutes.

Henry:
So what do you say in that… You cold called him, he called you back and you’re in shock. And then what is it you say to keep the man on the phone?

Andrew:
I think I blacked out because I was so shocked. It’s like when you ask your wife to marry you, but I said things just like, I like, “Hey, I’m from a small town.” I knew a lot about him. I creeped on him a lot. Similar things, “Here’s what I’ve done. I’m in Fargo, I’d love to just have some pie.” And Gary’s the guy that I later on learned, loves to share his story and he loves young people that have ambition. I was the perfect person to tutor for him. I mean, it was great. Match made in heaven.

Henry:
That’s perfect. It’s super cool. The reason I was asking those questions is one of the marketing methods that I like to use, and especially that I encourage younger investors to use is network marketing. So sending out marketing with the intention of making a connection and networking with somebody more so than the intention of buying their property. Because when you can network with… And I specifically tell them, you look for older people who have a handful of properties who have owned them for years. And the idea is that you connect with these mom and pops, right? And then you have lunch or coffee instead of saying, “Hey, I want to buy your place.” You say, “Hey, I want to talk to you about real estate.” Because that group just is wildly passionate sometimes about younger investors going down the same path and you’re able to build this strong relationship.
And then they always know all the people, they always know old so and so down the road, who’s got this business or this thing, they’re looking at selling or got this opportunity and you can go learn this. And they’re so connected and you can gain so much just from those networking relationships. And I think 100% totally agree with you that there’s a lot of people who are older who have been around the block. And you can use your youth as an advantage because you have the drive and the hustle. They see a lot of themselves in you at that age. And you can use that to your advantage, not in a bad way, not taking advantage of anybody, but you can use building that relationship to your advantage greatly. And then the idea is that when you get there, you do the same thing. You give it back to somebody who’s got that same ambition.

Andrew:
Exactly. And that’s what they love. When you get older and you make a lot of money, normally the thing that they want is to leave something behind a legacy. And they want someone that wants to learn, they want somebody to want to listen to their story really.

David:
Well, they want to feel significant. And that creates significant. So they know if you can learn from my story and the lessons I went through and you don’t have to go through the same, then that it’s a rewarding feeling for someone. It’s hard when we’re in the grind or the struggle for money or building mode. It’s hard to even conceive of what it would be like to not have money on your mind. And I don’t mean money is in greed. I mean, once you build a decent amount of wealth, I’m sure this is probably where you’re at, Andrew, you seem like someone who’s halfway into offense. How do I build, how do I scale? And that’s my next question for you. But then you’re halfway into defense. How do I protect what I’ve already got? How do I not lose it? And so not all of money is about greed and yachts and super cars and trying to look cool.
A lot of it is just, “Okay. I’ve got responsibility for all of these people that work for me and people that have invested in my company and my family that leans on me and I don’t want to lose what I’ve already created.” And so it just occupies a lot of the space in your head. And you get to a certain point of wealth, like your mental, you’re a billionaire where… I mean, if you think about being a billionaire, no one actually knows what their net worth is when they’re a billionaire because it’s not being measured in money in a bank. It’s various companies that are worth different things. And all of that’s fluctuating as far as stock values and the reports of what revenue was for that quarter. It’s like billionaires, it’s very tricky to know how much money they actually even have. They have so much of it that it doesn’t mean the same thing to them that it does to us.
There’s not a connection anymore between buying something and having a price you paid for it. So obviously their mind’s going to be focused on different things. And I think it’s fascinating to see if I didn’t have to worry about money, which most of us will spend our entire lives on earth without having that luxury, what do I think about? And it sounds like what this person was thinking about was legacy and significance and wanting to feel like their life mattered and shared something. What were some of the biggest lessons that you took from those conversations with Gary?

Andrew:
Yeah, I’m glad you said that. So we started, he said, “Yeah, let’s meet up.” So every week we were meeting up having pie at the Village Inn in Fargo. And we started just talking. And I actually, when we first met, I asked him to invest in me. And he’s like, “No. I’m like, “Oh, okay.” So then I’m like, this is more of a mentorship, sounds good. But what I learned was he saw me, we talked business, him make mistakes, all that. And his model was very simple. In the 1980s, Gary wanted to print an asset. He said, “Billionaires, no matter what they’re in their manufacturers.” What he means by that, he’s like, “I was in the hotel business, but I manufactured hotels. I printed hotels.” He opened a new hotel every eight days in his peak. He built 500 hotels and only sold 100 of them to continue to build.
But he also vertically integrated. He was the best in the business. He didn’t touch anything but hotels. He used the Marriott brands for branding. He owned the construction, he owned the wiring company, he was the realtor, he was the best at it. And that’s what he taught me. So when I was doing all these things and making money here and there, and then I went and invested 15% of our portfolio in a helicopter company for all things and it went bankrupt and we lost 15% for the first time. Our share value actually dropped some and it wasn’t a kill the business investment, but it was a good drop. And I was at [inaudible 00:40:28] and I told Gary about it and he looked at me and said, “Andrew, you’re good at a lot of things, but you’re not great at anything.” And that sunk in. And that was when I knew that I needed to figure out who I actually was instead of just dabbling in a lot of things.

David:
So how did you make the decision of what you wanted to be great at?

Andrew:
Yeah, good question. So I asked that question to Gary, “Well, what do I do?” There’s so many ideas. He said, “Andrew, everybody in the world thinks that there’s the idea. They wait around until they’re 50 until the idea pops up.” He said, “There actually isn’t the idea.” He said, “There’s millions of ideas, you just got to pick one, focus on it, put your blinders up and make it the idea.” So I took that and I said, “Okay.”
So the next week I came back and I had two asset classes I had interest in. One was self storage because it reminded me a lot of the hotels in the ’80s, it’s very fragmented. And at that time in 2017, public storage, the Marriott of storage for the first time was allowing people to use their brand just like Marriott did in 1982. And so storage was one of them and assisted living was one. And Gary just said, “Which one feels better to you?” And I said, “I’m a simple farm boy. So I like storage, there’s no toilets, there’s very little people involved. It’s simple, it’s scalable.” And he said, “Sounds good, let’s do it.” So we jumped on his plane, went out, met with Public Storage and Extra Space and started discussing third party management agreements. We were one of the first 50 to sign up.

David:
Okay. So that makes some sense why you’d want to get into self storage. What was the benefit of signing up with a company that was going to let you use their brand?

Andrew:
So Gary’s big model, so he pays Marriott 12% and he still has to run the hotels. So he’s got 3,000 employees today for his hotels and he pays Marriott 12% for the name. Public Storage and Extra Space and Life Storage, they just started this model in 2017 for the first time in history and they were only charging 4% to 6% of revenue, and they would manage the facility and brand it and use their algorithms. So Gary said, “I’m a big believer in being the best developer and owner there is. Let the people that have been doing it for 50 years that have built a brand that have $2 million views on their pages a day, that have the algorithms, let them do all the management for that. I mean, we’re not making much money. And second off, what do you want to do? Don’t swim against the tide. You’re going to go try to recreate their algorithms. What’s the point? Just be the best owner and developer you can be and own the rest of the process.”

David:
So that’s what ultimately you became great at was owning real estate and developing it. So tell me, from the perspective of becoming a billionaire, what are some things that you want to focus on within the project or the asset class or the business that you’re taking on?

Andrew:
So what we do now, so fast forward, we’ve raised… Because Gary did finally invest by the way. So that’s nice. So we’ve raised about $120 million in cash and then we go and leverage, Gary and I are the only personal guarantees on the loan. So his PGs on the loan, so is mine. So we’ve got about $1 billion in projects in the works here over the next five years. All self storage. So next year we got $100 million in Arizona breaking ground. So Abernathey Holdings, which is Gary and I and a hundred other people, I still own control. The other 100 people have thrown in anywhere from $300,000 to $5 million each. We own the construction company, we own the equipment dealership, we own the garage door dealership and we own the asset. So each building we builds about $13 million. The bank needs $5 million down. Gary throws in two and a half million cash. Abernathy Holdings throws in two and a half million cash, but we get to pocket $1 million from our vertical profits. So really we’re making 40% return before the doors even open on our projects.

Henry:
I like that you point out about how you’re making money before the doors open because a lot of what I’ve heard about building self storage is that you’re not making a profit until year three, maybe year five. And so how are you deciding where it makes sense to do this? And then how long does it actually take from the doors open to when you’re actually seeing a profit on your income statement?

Andrew:
So we try to focus on recycling cash. So it’s cool that we’ve raised $120 million in cash. But the problem is if… I mean, my goal someday and my team’s going to listen to this and laugh because I’m the dreamer, but it’s like I’d like to be building $1 billion a year in storage. Right now we’re at the $100 million, I’d like to be doing $1 billion a year. Well, in order to be doing $1 billion a year, you need a lot of cash. So my goal is to recycle the money as quick as possible. So with our current model, if we own 50% of the property and we have a syndication partner that owns 50%, we owe two and a half down. Syndication partner owns two and a half. But if Abernathy Holdings, me and my investors own 100% of the verticals and have exclusivity to do it, our profits actually take half that out.
Like I said, we get 40% to 50% of our money back before the doors open. The first step of recycling. Now the rest of it right now, we get out at stabilization. So to answer your question on the timeline, so when we find a site in Arizona, we have our own internal land crew about four guides. All they do is look for land, they find a site, they put an offer in, they spend about 12 months in titling it. And we do this whole process in cash. We’ll buy the lot, usually a million an acre in Arizona and then we’ll spend a quarter million or so on entitlement process. Lawyers, architects, engineers, things like that. Takes about 12 months shovel ready. And then we hand it to our in-house construction company. We have our own superintendents, project managers, they go and build it.
And in Arizona, that takes about 12 months at CO. That property that we built for 12 is worth about $17 million. So you had value creation plus, like I said, we got 40% of our cash back on what we paid our own companies to do the work at market rates. And now average in the industry is about three years to stabilize after doors open due to our lot selection, we’re about half that. So this whole process start to finish in Arizona’s three and a half years, we’re looking to get into California, that’ll be longer and cost more, but the upsides higher as well. So to me, what my focus on is recycling capital because if you can recycle your capital quick, then your upsides, your upsides is not as capital intensive, right?

David:
Yes. I mean, this is a very, very, very complex and grandiose per method in a sense. You’re building an asset, you’re stabilizing it, you’re getting the money out, you’re paying off your investors and then you’re saying, “Hey, I got another place to put your money to repeat this process.”

Andrew:
But the cool thing actually is Abernathy Holdings is like Berkshire Hathaway. So we haven’t done dividends in 10 years. So the company that I raised money for 10 years ago, we talked about this is the same entity and the same investors, it’s just the business as morphed into a different model. So it’s cool and unique too.

David:
You mentioned vertical integration quite often you talk about the verticals. What does that mean within the context of self storage?

Andrew:
So only as much of the process as possible. So for an example, Henry Ford, he used to require the people that sent him parts to manufacture to build his cars. He required them to send them in wood boxes, not cardboard because he would then use the wood boxes to put the floors in the cars. So he’d get it for free and then he would burn the extra and sell it for charcoal. I mean, again, he’s vertically integrated as much as he can and you create a product, sell the byproduct. So in storage, for me, I want to own as much of the process as possible, but I also don’t want a lot of headcount because again, employees are tough. Think it’s going to get harder and people, that’s where mistakes happen. There’s a lot of friction there. So for example, we’re our own garage door dealer because there’s about $150,000 of upside to be the dealer.
And it takes one person that’s already hired to push the paper. Pretty good. Net income per head. We’re our own construction company save about $700,000 of building and we’ve got one in a quarter guys per building because of project manager splits. And we are our own equipment dealership. We ship our own equipment site to site. We rent from ourselves. Very simple. You just move equipment once a year. Verticals that we do not do, thought about making our own signs, 50% margin. But now you’re in the manufacturing business, you got materials, parts, you got to ship them, you got labor, you got heads. That’s an example of a vertical we didn’t do. So that’s what I mean by that is we’re bringing as much as we can in house, but I really don’t want to have more than 50 people in my organization.

Henry:
So that was going to be my next question is about how many employees do you have and why haven’t you looked into verticals that have to do with lighting and locks and all the other ancillary parts of the business?

Andrew:
So we have 50 people. Everybody in our storage facilities are actually public storage employees. But we do pay through them through an expense. So I don’t include them, but we have 50 staff. We open to a supply construction supply company. So we do bulk order some materials to get discounts. We also negotiate with architects and engineers to get maybe 30% discounts. So things that we haven’t brought in house for various reasons we put on our negotiating hats or into our bulk ordering hats.

David:
So how are you structuring your companies or your deals so that everybody wins? Because I’ve noticed that’s come up a few times as you’re speaking.

Andrew:
So there’s three people that I’ve followed the model, Warren Buffett, Gary Tharaldson’s simplicity approach, and then Trammell Crow, he was a big developer in the ’80s. He had a partnership approach. So Jesus had 12 disciples. I’ve got six guys because I’m not as good as Jesus. So I have six people that I talk to on a regular basis. And it’s a Warren Buffett style. So we have a guy that has been in equipment for 20 years and he’s passionate about it, I mean he dreams about equipment, he runs that arm, that’s his job. He’s got his people, he runs it the way he wants. Him and I talk, that’s it. We have a guy that runs a development arm. He’s passionate about storage, he dreams about it. This passion is the focal point of our business. He has his people, so on and so forth. So I am the dumbest one in every room and I’m proud of it.
I bring the money to the table. I’m really good at connecting people and I’ve got the energy and the excitement and the dream and the vision. So what I’ve done is I’ve surrounded myself with smarter people in their said field. And then what we’ve also done is we give ownership to each and every said person through shares in the holding company. So a guy that came to us back in 16, he’s now a millionaire and he started with $0. I’m a big believer that the best ROI I’ve ever made for myself and our investors is actually giving more to our employees. They do most of the work. And if I have to give up 15% of every building, so be it. My goal is to make 1,000 millionaires and I’m only a handful in. So a lot of years left.

David:
All right, Andrew. So starting from scratch, somebody who wants to start a small business, maybe they don’t want to be a billionaire, but they would like some advice for how to structure creating a business. Maybe they’re good at buying rental properties, they’ve got one or two or three, maybe they’re a real estate agent that wants to grow their team or they’re a construction worker who wants to start his own business. What advice do you have for people who are in the trade and they want to actually scale into running a business?

Andrew:
No, I love it. Well, again, make sure you have the passion, but if you’re already in the trade, you probably already do and follow the lead. And again, there’s 1,000 ways to do it. So just because I did it this way doesn’t mean it’s the only way. But again, make a deal with someone. Make it a no loss deal for them, just like I did on my first deal. Work for free, work your butt off for equity, whatever it may be, do that and don’t be afraid to call. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s a numbers game. Call 20 people to do a deal with you and you hope to get one that, and I know it sounds simple and generic, but that’s the biggest thing is you just got to get out there, start making calls, bring a deal. Don’t take no for an answer and have good energy. I can’t tell you how many billionaires have told me that my energy and excitement and attitude is a really big reason that they’re attracted. So just make sure you have a really good energy and excitement.

David:
Henry, you look like you’re deep in thought. Anything you want to add before we move into the famous four?

Henry:
Yeah, no, I mean, I totally agree. The energy is huge because people feed off every energy and you want to help people who are excited about what they’re doing because you get to feed off that excitement. And so energy’s big. I often, throughout the day today, I wasn’t feeling like I was a bundle of energy and I knew that I had some phone calls I wanted to be excited about and so I do… I watched a couple of funny videos, something that’s going to get me laughing. Get those positive vibes going to help me build that energy because it’s important.
I think too many times we will get caught up in the negative energy or just say, that’s my mood for the day. I’m having a bad day. And you don’t understand how much of an impact that can have on you as a business. So being intentional about keeping your energy up, there are some things you can do to control that. But I really, really enjoyed this conversation and I love the outlook that you have on life. I love that you took some lessons at a very young age and actually put them into action. I wish I was as smart as you. I wish I was as disciplined as you when I was 15 or 16 years old. I don’t know that I would’ve reinvested $500,000 if it fell in my lap as a junior in high school.

Andrew:
I appreciate that. Yeah, it’s the funny thing is I don’t know any different, been since I was 10. Everybody’s always laugh. I don’t remember when I was nine, so I mean I just always been like this I guess.

David:
All right, we’re going to move on to the last summit ever show. This is the famous four.

Speaker 4:
Famous four

David:
And this segment of the show, Henry and I will fire questions off at you. They’re the same four questions we ask every guest every week. I’m excited to hear your answers. So Andrew, first question, what is your favorite real estate related book?

Andrew:
So I would say the Trammell Crow building an Empire is a great one, it’s very expensive, but it’s classic learning how to grow through partners, partnerships. Gary Tharaldson actually has a book about his life, Secrets of Success: Gary Tharaldson, it’s a red book with his face on the cover. And then another one I like is Shoe Dog. It’s about Phil Knight’s story. I just love all his attitude and all the things that he overcame. So I’m going to throw those three out.

Henry:
Perfect. I’m not even going to ask you the second question because it’s about what’s your favorite business book and I think you just gave us some great ones.

Andrew:
Yeah.

Henry:
So what are your hobbies?

Andrew:
Good question. I got beautiful three boys under five, an amazing wife. So I hang out with them a lot. We’re going to Disneyland actually next week. So I’m jacked. I would say golf. Yeah, hang with family. I’m pretty simple. I mean, business is my hobby too, so that takes most of my time.

David:
I got to ask you, I’ve been considering golf, I never really wanted to do it was never exciting. But I went to top golf one time in Scottsdale and it was actually fun. What’s your advice for me on if I should take golf as a competitive perfectionist? That’s why I never did it because it’s very frustrating and I just don’t like sucking at anything or not being good at it.

Andrew:
I have never been so angry and broke so many things and when I started golfing it was so bad and to me it was a challenge to manage my emotions because I’ve been learning that it was probably the toughest emotional management I’ve ever had, because I’m just like you. So am I glad I did it. Yes, I’m actually pretty good now, but it was the worst couple years of my life, but it was worth it and I think it was actually a pretty good life lesson really for managing my emotions.

David:
I had this theory about golf that it’s one of the most insane things in the world to do. If you didn’t know what golf was and someone said, we’re going to put a hole this big 300 yards,

Andrew:
Like an alien comes like-

David:
Yeah, that’s exactly right. If you’re an alien and you came and you said, so you’re just going to put a whole, like imagine going to the desert, so we’re going to put a whole 300 yards somewhere else. You’re going to get this tiny ball and you’re going to get this stick and you got to hit it and try to get it there in three to four tries. You’d say, “That is impossible.” It could not happen. And it’s like amazing that human beings have both designed the equipment and practiced it to the point where this is even a thing that can happen. It’s like a miracle. Every time I see a person playing golf and we just talk about it like, oh, it’s just golf.

Andrew:
What I love though is it makes someone hang out with me for four hours. So it’s perfect. We can cover off topics. I mean-

David:
They’re going to be investing with you by the time they get done there.

Andrew:
Guarantee, my success rate. Oh gosh, got to be 99% at that game, the full deal.

Henry:
Do it, David, do it. I took it up recently. I love it. I’m terrible at it, but it’s so much fun.

David:
Okay.

Henry:
And there’s so much, so many life lessons that you learn playing golf.

Andrew:
Let’s play in Scottsdale here. We’ll go out.

David:
That’s a good point. I mean that’s Scottsdale is the Mecca.

Henry:
I will gladly embarrass myself in front of you.

David:
All right, my last question. In your opinion, what separates successful investors from those who give up fail or never get started?

Andrew:
Focus. Ignoring all of the shiny objects out there, all the deals, especially with our intention spans, as you know, books are getting shorter, all of that. So long term investment, a big believer in it focusing and being the best at something and ignoring everything. That was the hardest part for me is ignoring all the other good deals I could have done. And then just attitude giving up. I mean, gosh, is that even an option? So I just think it’s mindset, attitude and open to distractions.

Henry:
All right. And the last question is, tell people where they can find out more about you.

Andrew:
Yeah, I’m on Facebook, Andrew J. Abernathy, Instagram and I have a personal website, andrewabernathy.com. And then abernathyholdingsco.com is our company page. So any of those work?

David:
Absolutely. Henry, where can people find out more about you?

Henry:
You can find me on Instagram. I am @thehenrywashington on Instagram. What about you, sir?

David:
I am @davidgreene24, just about everywhere, including YouTube. Andrew, this has been fantastic. My mind is still spinning at some of the things that you’re working with. You are clearly the Doogie Howser of real estate and I can’t believe that we haven’t had you on the podcast before. Now, is there anything you want to share with our audience before we let you get out of here?

Andrew:
Just, I love it. It’s an honor and I’d love to be back if it ever works out. So there’s nothing better than just sharing my story and talking to great people like you guys.

David:
Awesome. Well, thank you for that. And if you have enjoyed this episode, please go leave us a five star review wherever you are listening to this podcast. Whether it be Apple Podcast, Spotify, Stitcher, whatever it is that’s your favorite flavor, please leave us a review there and then if you’re listening on YouTube, subscribe to the channel. All right guys, this has been fantastic. I really appreciate your time. Andrew, we will have you on again. This is David Greene for Henry [inaudible 00:59:38] savant Washington signing up.

 

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In This Episode We Cover:

  • The importance of early financial education and investing at a young age
  • How parents can cultivate the passions their kids possess 
  • Puts and calls, stock trading, and how to invest like Warren Buffett
  • Apartment investing and how knowing your market can make you millions 
  • How to find a mentor (even if you’re looking for a billionaire!)
  • Analysis paralysis, shiny object syndrome, and sticking to one strategy
  • Self-storage development and the details behind the deal
  • And So Much More!

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Note By BiggerPockets: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.